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Brit glass ceiling

Survey finds women, minorities fare poorly

HOLLYWOOD — Women in the U.K. film industry earn less than men, despite being better qualified, and ethnic minorities have a slim chance of breaking into the biz, according to the most in-depth survey ever of the U.K.’s film production workforce.

Published Tuesday, the survey — conducted by the U.K. Film Council and Skillset, the skills councils for the audiovisual industries — highlights the need to broaden recruitment and tackle barriers or risk losing valuable skills and experience.

Increasing opportunities and better training are key areas being addressed by A Bigger Future, the five-year, £50 million ($98 million) U.K. Film Skills Strategy launched last year by Skillset and the U.K. Film Council.

The survey found women make up 33% of the workforce but 35% of them earn less than £20,000 a year, compared to 18% of men. In the higher salary brackets, 30% of men earn £50,000-plus, vs. 16% of women.

However, 60% of women are graduates compared with 39% of men. Some 17% of men had no qualifications, vs. only 5% of women.

Film production has a highly qualified workforce: 46% are graduates compared with 19% of the U.K. workforce as a whole. Very few had formal film industry training. Some 13% had attended a course while 33% had taught themselves relevant skills. Just over half of those surveyed felt they needed further training.

The industry is predominantly white, with only 1 in 20 from a minority ethnic background; that’s just 5% of the workforce.

In London, where the majority of the workforce is concentrated, minority ethnicity groups make up 24% of the general working population.

Around 81% of staff are recruited by word of mouth — more than half are approached by a contact on a production.

Some 71% were unemployed at least once in the previous year and 35% spent more than 10 weeks of the year unemployed.

“These findings show that if we are to attract the brightest and the best into the industry, and make the most of our existing talent, we need to … open up more concrete career paths into the industry and opportunities for advancement for those already within it,” said U.K. Film Council CEO John Woodward.

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